On November 12th, 2017, a group of Senators introduced legislation to add restrictions to purchase firearms in the U.S. The act is sponsored by a bipartisan group, is made up of four republicans and four democrats. The legislation is called the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act and is led by a Republican Senator from Texas, named John Cornyn. It aims to put stricter regulations on government agencies to more regularly update criminal and mental health records to the national database. This act came in the wake of the mass shooting that took place in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The gunman, in this tragic event had a domestic violence conviction that was not uploaded to the database which enabled him to buy a weapon.
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After the string of recent mass shootings in the U.S., gun control is one of the most talked about current issues in politics. Many people would like to see gun reform and the elimination of civilians being able to buy assault rifles, but there is also a great opposition to it because people want to see their second amendment upheld. This has led to very little change on gun control in the past, usually splitting the two parties: Democrats urging for reform and Republicans wanting keep the laws the way it currently is.
However, the head sponsor for this new act that is being proposed is by a Republican, John Cornyn. The cosponsors are also split down the middle with eleven Democrats, eleven republicans, and one independent. This split is showing a change from the norm and many republicans are beginning to get on board with gun reform. This is an example of the U.S. not having a responsible, two party system because many senators are now deviating from the norm of their party and choosing to vote with their opposing party.
Another notion to consider is that this is still in the first stages of this bill becoming a law. As we have learned, there are six ways that a bill can die and about 95% of them end up not being passed. The Fix NICS Act, has passed the first test and was sent to the senate judiciary committee to be amended, but there is still a chance of it dying there or having to be amended a few more times. If it does make its way onto the legislative calendar it is going to be voted upon by the members of the senate but some may try to filibuster it, which is another way the bill could die. It could end up being months or years before for this bill becomes a law, if it ever gets that far.
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